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South West bird deaths spark bird flu investigation Bath City News

There have been sightings of dead swans and geese in the West Country. It triggered an investigation into a possible outbreak of avian flu.

Incidents of birds found dead at various locations in Exeter Quay have been reported to the RSCPA and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) has also been involved after a local resident reported finding a dead swan earlier this week.

According to Devon Live, DEFRA has confirmed it is aware of a number of reported wild bird deaths from several locations in England. However, he did not comment on the deaths at Exeter.

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Referring instead to deaths across England, he said: “These deaths are currently being investigated as part of the Animal Health Agency’s ongoing wild bird surveillance programme. and vegetable (APHA).

“We publish a report, updated regularly, on findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds in Britain.”

Dead bird at Exeter Quays (Image: Melanie King)

Bird flu – avian influenza – is an infectious disease that affects wild, captive and farmed birds. Although the health risk to the general public is low, the disease is taken very seriously as it is devastating to birds and spreads rapidly.

DWT confirmed it appealed for help from the RSPCA this week after a resident reported finding a dead swan at Exeter Quay. A DWT spokeswoman said: “The swan has been taken away by the RSCPA and it will be tested to find out what caused its death.

“I don’t think there has been any official verification yet. Bird flu seems to be the most likely reason, but we just don’t know. There were no obvious signs of injury to the bird. .

“It is always heartbreaking to find dead swans. We hope the cause of death will be established soon.”

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Exeter resident Melanie King, who encountered a few dead birds along Exeter Quay on Monday, said: ‘Behind the old customs house and brewery I saw a dead swan and a very bad one as well than many other dead things like fish.I saw two more dead swans and a dead goose further down the canal towards the coffee cellar and Port Royal.

“A trash man or the like had just fished out the two dead swans and when I asked if they were going to investigate the cause of their deaths he said they were just going to the trash. Then as I went up more far towards the wharf, I saw a dead goose.”

Currently, bird flu is incurable. The RSPCA is working with the government and others to help tackle suspected outbreaks in local wild bird populations.

In line with government guidelines, the RSPCA is advising the public not to touch, move or transport sick or dead birds. Anyone who finds dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577. Members of the public must not pick up dead animals or visibly sick birds.

For the latest updates on the Avian Flu situation, please click here.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-22 20:53:23

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